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Title: Detecting parallel polygenic adaptation to novel evolutionary pressure in wild populations: a case study in Atlantic cod ( Gadus morhua )

Populations can adapt to novel selection pressures through dramatic frequency changes in a few genes of large effect or subtle shifts in many genes of small effect. The latter (polygenic adaptation) is expected to be the primary mode of evolution for many life-history traits but tends to be more difficult to detect than changes in genes of large effect. Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) were subjected to intense fishing pressure over the twentieth century, leading to abundance crashes and a phenotypic shift toward earlier maturation across many populations. Here, we use spatially replicated temporal genomic data to test for a shared polygenic adaptive response to fishing using methods previously applied to evolve-and-resequence experiments. Cod populations on either side of the Atlantic show covariance in allele frequency change across the genome that are characteristic of recent polygenic adaptation. Using simulations, we demonstrate that the degree of covariance in allele frequency change observed in cod is unlikely to be explained by neutral processes or background selection. As human pressures on wild populations continue to increase, understanding and attributing modes of adaptation using methods similar to those demonstrated here will be important in identifying the capacity for adaptive responses and evolutionary rescue.

This article is part of the theme issue ‘Detecting and attributing the causes of biodiversity change: needs, gaps and solutions’.

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Award ID(s):
1743711 2129351
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Publisher / Repository:
The Royal Society
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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